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January 15, 2021
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently added nine new answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to its existing guidance on how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other fair employment laws while also observing all applicable emergency workplace safety guidelines during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Guidance for Employers
The new FAQs address mandatory workplace vaccination programs and the restrictions that federal fair employment laws place on them. In general, employers may require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations as long as they provide reasonable accommodations for employees who refuse to take the vaccine for medical or religious reasons.
The EEOC’s new FAQs generally clarify, among other things, that:
- Employers may require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations;
- Employers that require vaccinations may need to provide accommodations or show that an unvaccinated employee would pose a direct threat;
- Vaccination-related questions from employers must be job-related and consistent with business necessity; and
- Any medical information obtained in the course of a vaccination program must be kept confidential.